U.S. freight carload traffic slipped 1.0% during the week compared to a year ago, while U.S. intermodal volume did better, up 3.7% compared with the same week in 2013. Total U.S. freight traffic fell 1.2%.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 11.3%. Declining commodities included motor vehicles and parts, down 6.7%.
(AAR noted U.S. Class I railroads originated 108,590 carloads of crude oil in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing total Class I crude oil originations for the year to 407,642 carloads, a 74% increase carloads originated in 2012. Crude oil accounted for 1.4% of total U.S. Class I originations, AAR said.)
Canadian freight carload traffic for the week ending March 8 fell sharply, down 11%, while Canadian intermodal fell less dramatically, down 2.4%. Mexican freight carload traffic slipped 1.1% for the week, while Mexican intermodal fell 3.4% short of its same-week total in 2013.
Combined North American freight carload traffic during the first 10 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down 1.9% measured against the comparable period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal volume for the period, by contrast, was up 0.9%.